Lake Gairdner via Mt Ive Station

The cunning plan was to spend a few days MTB riding and walking in the northern Flinders Ranges and then head NW to Lake Gairdner where we could check out some possible MTB and Fatbike rides for when the weather warmed up. Well the first part of the plan worked well with lovely weather in the Flinders Ranges and a great 55km ride with almost 39km of it being mainly downhill on 4WD tracks and seldom used dirt roads.

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Robyn on the ride

Robyn on the ride

We didn’t see any vehicles after leaving Blinman until we hit Parachilna Pub on the main road. A great ride followed by some interesting wines procured by Gavin on his recent wanderings in wine areas of NSW and of course nibbles galore courtesy of Lorraine.

We also managed to get in some bushwalking along the Parachilna Creek.

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Then our cunning plan got a little sticky. We left the bitumen roads and headed the 128km red clay track to Mt Ive Station staying just out of reach of storms that passed to the south of us. The track became a little slippery but easily manageable at a slower speed. We reached Mt Ive Station and camped near the Shearers Quarters,confident that the weather would improve and allow us to explore Lake Gairdner.

Next morning the weather was still threatening but mainly dry so we headed for Lake Gairdner about 30km away.

The Lake is 160km x 48km (99m x 30m) and is in the Lake Gairdner National Park which covers 5481 sq. kms. and has very few inhabitants.

It was quite stunning with overcast skies and evidence of another storm on the horizon and I’m afraid the photos don’t really do it justice.

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We were also able to visit several other nearby volcanic rock formations as well as the old water storage embankment. The enbankment built as a water storage

The Organ Pipes on the hill

The Organ Pipes on the hill

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Robyn always has her eye out for landscape abstracts.

Rock abstract 2

Rock abstract 2

Iron Abstracts

Iron Abstracts

Rock art abstract

Rock art abstract

And then the storms that had been harmlessly passing south of us decided to change direction. We managed to get back to the Station camp as the roads became sticky red clay pits. They must have been worried about us in the storm as we came across Stuart from the station, out looking for us.

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Looking south towards the storms

Looking south towards the storms

We were forced to wait a couple of days until the storms passed and the roads dried enough to be passable. Meantime Robyn found a new friend who loved climbing the stairs on the camper and spent time with old friends as well.

Robyn's new friend

Robyn’s new friend

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We had plenty of time to explore around the station area but it was still too wet to attempt any of the 4WD tracks into the nearby ranges. Of course we were well looked after by the station staff who often host international visitors on this working sheep station.

I wonder what they think of the sign on the bedroom door that asks them to keep the door closed at all times as it “keeps the flies, spiders and snakes out”.

Our night sky photos from Mt Ive summit had to be abandoned but we found lots of other interesting sights.DPP_0003

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This is certainly a rugged place and life was hard in the early years as shown in the station cemetery.

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There are many strange things in this landscape of the inland sea and this is one just one of them. Half buried in the red sand is a midget submarine. Maybe one of those that attacked Sydney harbor in WW2 and then escaped into the inland sea ?.

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We fed “the Donkey” to make sure that we had hot showers each night. A “Donkey” is a wood fired water heater often seen on outback stations supplying hot water to the Shearers Quarters.

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The Donkey

The Donkey

We made a slow exit on the still slippery roads and headed back to the Clare Valley wine area. We rode the 55km Riesling Rail Trail and of course enjoyed a nice meal with complimenting “Stephen John”Shiraz at the Rising Sun Hotel in Auburn.

Life’s tough but someone has to do it.

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